DOWN THE FARM Sept 14, 2019 16:00:48 GMT
Post by rockefeller on Sept 14, 2019 16:00:48 GMT
Slow Saturday, so Rocks stuck the new girl in the dish pit in order to read this epic yarn on the restaurant laptop. She, like Rocks, doesn't much care for the crowds, small talk and pleasantries that accompany bussing and waiting tables, and so didn't seem to mind.
Technically it passes muster. Rocks found it a smooth, easy read. No backtracking or re-parsing. Narrative-wise it held his attention very well for the first few pages, pretty well for maybe 2/3 of the remaining, and well enough to skim carefully but never outright skip for the rest.
An interesting steampunk future. Not really dystopian, since it's a better future than probably ninety percent of those living in the present enjoy. Although Rocks did like the world building, which was pretty self explanatory, and not mired in a lot of unnecessary exposition. He did wonder how $1500, about half the monthly rent on a run-of-the-mill detached hereabouts, not even enough for a halfway decent bicycle, amounted to life-altering debt. Unemployed kids in high school slap that on multiple credit cards today. By the time we've colonized the moon, USD 1500 won't buy you a box of cornflakes. And which is partly why Rocks is calling it alternate history type steampunk instead of hard SF.
The POV is nonexistent (objective) initially, but then settles on Dau's, which makes the whole thing feel a little unplanned. Exacerbating this feeling is somewhat too huge of a cast of characters. Maybe for a novel... or a trilogy... The plot, too, ambles just a tad. The initial conflict stemming from their debt was engaging, but then results in more of a reward than a consequence. Life on that level of Farm rehabilitation is better than what they'd previously enjoyed. Other conflicts, like which group of kids Dau will join, sort themselves out almost as they're introduced. Others, like his father's murder rap are resolved in hindsight, as backstory.
The prose is too good, the writing too tight, for an "and then... and then... and then..." vibe while reading, but that's how it's nestled itself into Rocks' weirdly shaped head, how it feels in reflection. Finally, even though it's set in Confederate territory (Richmond, Virginia) the voice is, Rocks is going to guess, Aussie? Not quite UK, but certainly not southern-ish US. In other words, good clip, but no twang. E.g., does anyone south of Pennsylvania live in a "flat"?
So this one's getting a not quite, from Rocks. But not an easy no. It has promise. There's lots to love. Maybe The Bull and some subsequent tiebreaker will grok to it. If so, or just to help with the VC's possible future revisions, here's a few nits Rocks saw with his one functioning eye:
I hear quite enough about rocks and and digging...
best for you to keep an eye on your Father...
Dau was pleased with his Dad’s words...
Only cap proper nouns. I.e., if you cut the possessive pronouns, "your" and "his," then Father and Dad become proper nouns and can be capitalized.
There were no walls and guards and barracks...
and=or, else, as a Boolean expression it means something other than as intended.
Write out simple numbers.